Sunday, November 2, 2008

She's walked a mile in those baby shoes

During a portion of the day when the Visiting Queens joined the Swine royalty onstage to introduce themselves to the fairgoers, the littlest royals were lifted up by their "big girl" role models for introductions. The Petite Miss Swine is held here by the new International Rice Festival Queen, Devin Babineaux, who knows what it's like to a pint-sized festival royal: at 8 months old, she was won the Baby Rice pageant, and then every two years won the next title up (tiny, petite, and toddler). After the children's divisions, there is only Junior queen, chosen by the schools, and nothing again until the Queen's pageant. So when she wasn't picked to be Junior Queen, she cried so hard that her mom consoled her with the encouragment that, "One day, you'll go on and be the big Rice queen." And now, at 18, she is. She was given the option of competing for Queen of Queens, but has turned it down, because she doesn't want to risk winning and then having to give up her Rice title. "Rice was my dream," she told me, "And I want to keep it."

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